(FOX 9) - Law enforcement agencies in the Twin Cities are increasing their presence near mosques and other areas of worship after mass shootings at two mosques Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Both mosques were full of worshippers attending Friday prayers when the shootings occurred. At least 49 people died. One man was arrested and charged with murder for what appears to be a carefully planned attack. Two other people are in custody.
In light of the deadly attack, the St. Paul Police Department said they will be making more frequent visits to mosques in the city and spend more time in nearby areas.
“We want our Muslim family members, friends and neighbors to know that we’ll do everything possible to keep you safe and secure in the city we share,” the police department said in a statement.
The Minneapolis Police Department will also be giving more attention to mosques and places of worship following the mass shootings. Spokesperson John Elder said the department is providing additional resources to help ensure the safety of those spaces.
"The Minneapolis Police Department, under the direction of Chief Arradondo, have cultivated strong relationships with our religious leaders in each community in Minneapolis," Elder said in a statement. "It is at times like this we draw on those relationships to continue dialogue on concerns and fears surrounding the tragic incidents that happened in New Zealand."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned the attack. CAIR also called on mosques around the world to increase security measures as a precaution.
“We mourn the heartbreaking killings of men, women and children gathered for prayer in their houses of worship and urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.
CAIR full statement
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad issued the following statement:
"To God we belong, and to Him is our return. We mourn the heartbreaking killings of men, women and children gathered for prayer in their houses of worship and urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists. In the wake of this tragedy, we urge mosques, Islamic schools and other community institutions in the United States and around the world to take stepped-up security precautions, particularly during times of communal prayer."